Stranded for 18 weeks For­got­ten fron­tier

Townsville Bulletin - - News - by John An­der­sen john. an­der­sen@ townsville­bul­letin. com. au john. an­der­sen@ townsville­bul­letin. com. au

FOR more than 18 weeks now Ross Blen­ner­has­sett and his part­ner Max­ine Rich have been stranded on their iso­lated Goshen cat­tle sta­tion 50km in­land from Card­well as the wom­poo pi­geon flies.

They are cut off on their Mt Gar­net ac­cess road by the flooded up­per Her­bert River at what is known lo­cally as Cash­mere Cross­ing. On the coastal side they are blocked by flooded creeks and fallen rain­for­est tim­ber on the 76km Kir­rama Range that joins the Bruce High­way at Kennedy.

It is only 50km in a di­rect line to Card­well, but as they are sep­a­rated from the small coastal vil­lage by pre­cip­i­tous moun­tains, World Her­itage Listed rain­for­est, and roads straight out of the Wild West, they may as well be liv­ing on the dark side of the moon.

They are no strangers to iso- la­tion and to be­ing cut off.

This year’s pe­riod of iso­la­tion, though, has gone on too long and they are dis­ap­pointed with the poor re­sponse they have had from authorities charged with pro­vid­ing as­sis­tance to peo­ple suf­fer­ing dis­ad­van­tage af­ter Cy­clone Yasi.

The cat­e­gory five storm passed right over their homestead af­ter wip­ing out large chunks of the Tully-Card­well coast on Fe­bru­ary 2-3.

Mr Blen­ner­has­sett, who was left a quad­ri­plegic af­ter an on-sta­tion ac­ci­dent in 2006, is con­fined to a wheel­chair. The cou­ple has a spe­cial van which is used to trans­port he and his wheel chair to and from the sta­tion, but with the both ac­cess roads cut, there is nowhere for them to go.

Mr Blen­ner­has­sett said there was noth­ing they could do but cope with the sit­u­a­tion. He said it was still rain­ing at Goshen ear­lier this week and that he didn’t ex­pect Cash­mere Cross­ing to be­come nav­i­ga­ble again to four-wheeldrive ve­hi­cles un­til mid-April.

NO-GO: Court­land Marks helps clear fallen trees from the Kir­rama Range road IT’S hard to be­lieve that the Kir­rama Range road, in the­ory, is sup­posed to be one of the state’s premier tourism tracks.

In re­al­ity, the road is a no-go zone. The east­ern ac­cess road from the Bruce High­way at Kennedy just north of Card­well has been closed since Cy­clone Larry in 2006. The road needs re­pairs no one is pre­pared to un­der­take.

Al­though the track has been of-

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